CRA has been a leader in California Republican Party politics for over 75 years. One distinctive that has always set CRA apart from other groups is the emphasis on pre-primary endorsements. In the wake of the passage of Prop 14, the pre-primary endorsement is no longer possible. However, I think most in CRA would like to have our local chapters have a voice in deciding who wins in the June election. The Nehring proposal will effectively make the endorsement of any republican candidate not selected by his process illegal.
CRA members who are delegates to the endorsing conventions must literally tow the party line or risk expulsion for four years from any party activity. The CRA no longer has a prohibition on officers also serving on county committees but the inverse is about to be true. The CRA will be muzzled on its choice of candidates or lose its right to participate in the selection process.
Nehring’s proposal implements at top-down leadership style much like he ran in San Diego County as its Central Committee Chair. CRA is a grassroots, bottom-up organization.
Nehring is advocating a “smoke filled room,” behind closed doors event, populated by party insiders and is disenfranchising millions of republican voters by excluding them from the process. Whatever process is adopted, it must include the opportunity for rank and file republicans to have a voice. If regular republicans are told by party bosses who their nominee is then haven’t we crossed the proverbial Rubicon and become the Democrat party. After all that’s how they got Jerry Brown.
Nehring’s proposal has many shortcomings that we still have time to fix but in order to do so we must organize enough to vote this down at the spring convention and work to substitute a better framework for adoption in September. This is the crucial issue of the 2012 election and we need to start acting now.
I think CRA needs to adopt a statement of principles about what would be an acceptable process for endorsement. I suggest the following as a basis for that discussion.
• If the CRP is to establish an official party nominee, all registered republicans should be afforded an opportunity to have input into that system. I don’t think a majority will actually participate but the fact that they could if they chose to will be the difference between the nominee being accepted or ignored. If our voters think they are being dictated to by the party, then I think many will sever their ties to Republican Party. Ronald Reagan had faith in the American people and so should we.
• No incumbent should be given a free pass for endorsement just because he won the last election. We can all name a host of RINOs that deserve to have a challenger from within our own party. Candidates that lose touch with their constituents always move decidedly to the Left.
• The entire process must be open to the public. Transparency and the rule of law will set us apart from the Democrats. When California goes off the cliff, we must show that we are offering something different and better not just more of the same if we hope to gain the trust of the electorate.
The Republican Brand is tarnished and Nehring’s plan will relegate us into obscurity. If it passed, in four short years we will be hearing of the Tea Party versus the Democrats because no one will be a Republican any more.
I implore you to stop the Nehring plan and work to open the process to all republicans.